The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them Review: Originality is Also Missing

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Just to be clear, this is a review of Them, the combined version of Him and Her that is getting the first release in theaters of the bunch.

To those of you that the previous sentence made zero sense to, here’s the deal: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby was originally filmed with the intention of being two films, one following Eleanor Rigby (Jessica Chastain) and the other following Connor Ludlow (James McAvoy). Director Ned Benson initially planned to release it as two films until the Weinstein Company had it edited into one cohesive film. Unfortunately, that decision takes away what makes this idea so innovative.

This film starts with Eleanor and Connor having a cute date night. The next scene is Eleanor jumping off the Manhattan Bridge. She survives her fall, but moves in with her parents and cuts off all contact with Connor, hence her disappearance.

Now, instead of a really interesting project that’s narrative would have developed in a more surprising manner, we get a pretty standard back and forth break-up movie. Had the script and the cast actually delivered, a standard break-up movie would have been fine.

Chastain and McAvoy have great chemistry, whether fighting or flirting, but they share very few scenes together. The rest of the all-star cast is rounded out with great actors delivering lines unconvincingly. Viola Davis and William Hurt are uncharacteristically dreadful, but the script does them few favors.

The tone comes across so melodramatic, barely lifting this story above soap opera quality. The ending doesn’t help as the characters head in directions they seemed to want no part of earlier in the film.

It’s a shame really, because you can sense just how different the story would have played had it been spread across two films. But would it have been enough to overcome some surprisingly bad acting and a cliche-ridden script? Not all original ideas can work miracles. As for this film, it feels uninspired and unnecessary. It’ll quickly disappear from your head, leaving you thinking about giving Blue Valentine another watch. Grade: C

By Matt Dougherty

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